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WTF is a lunge supposed to do, anyway?

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  • WTF is a lunge supposed to do, anyway?

    Ok so I've tried doing lunges lots of time in my life...in high school gym with a teacher directing, a few times during very short gym memberships involving personal trainers, and on my own with videos and books a handful of times. So far, I don't understand what the exercise is supposed to be doing. What muscles are supposed to be working? I could do lunges all day and night and never feel anything. And I am not a fit person in ANY way, so I know it's not just that I'm super strong and talented.

    I have also tried yoga positions that involve the same kind of pose and I feel no stretch, nor do I feel any muscles 'working'

    I know I must not be doing it right.

    In case this has anything to do with it, I have a tiny butt and I have yet to ever come across an exercise that works my glutes. Not on a machine or on my own. No squats, nothing. They all work ONLY my quads. Ever.
    junebu8's journ@l

  • #2
    S-L-O-W down, way down. Makes lunges and squats a lot harder when you aren't relying on momentum. Try a slow 4 count cadence--4 up, 4 down.

    Both lunges and squats will work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and all your smaller stabilizer muscles--basically all your leg muscles.

    Try 50 of Mark's PB Fitness FULL squats at this slower pace. You can see the video demo linked to his e-book to see the proper form. I'm sure you can Google and find a video for proper lunge form. Once you have the form down and can do at least 40 lunges slowly, then you can do them while holding dumbbells or wearing a weight vest to make them harder.
    Last edited by Dragonfly; 11-21-2010, 08:38 PM. Reason: fix typo
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    • #3
      if you're doing them correctly, lunges should really be working your quads, glutes and hamstrings. it is possible that you are only feeling it more in one place than the others.
      double check your form, and make sure that you are pushing through your heel and not your toes. in fact, take your toes completely out of the equation by curling them upwards. you'll still be using your quads to get out of the bend, but the power to stand up straight should come from your hips, and that will engage your glues and hamstrings. if you're still not feeling it working those muscles, try a few where you are really exploding up.
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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      • #4
        My glutes kill the day after a ton (100ish) lunges. Keep your hands off your legs, take long steps, and get your knee almost to the floor.

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        • #5
          Tiny butt indicates possible glute inactivation problem, you might try some short bridges to teach the glutes to activate.
          When I do lunges I feel it in my glutes, quads, hams.
          The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the legs unilateraly, and without invovlving the back muscles. Lunges are harder than squats for me, unless I weight the squats
          sigpicI'm not old, I'm Vintage!

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          • #6
            I just wanted to add that it's really common for women who start strength training to be quad dominant, and this isn't an uncommon issue. Basically, since you start out with stronger quads than hamstrings or glutes, your body continues to rely on it's strong quads, rather than engaging those other muscle groups. It can help if you slow the exercise down and practice the motion unweighted while focusing on form and muscle engagement. I also like 979roadrunner's bridge suggestion, especially since bridges are such a fun exercise.

            Lunge Testimonial: For most of my life, I was also afflicted with a tiny (and flat) booty. Now, thanks to squats, lunges, sprints, and a primal diet, I finally have some shape back there and can fill out the butt of my pants (which Mr. Holla certainly doesn't mind). So, you can do it! Activate those hamstrings! Engage that booty !
            The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

            You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

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            • #7
              oooh this is exciting news. I have no butt whatsoever.... mind you I also have really skinny legs. I need to get my act together, if you say it has worked for you theholla, then i'm keen to know more. roadrunner, what do you mean by short bridges??

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              • #8
                Short bridges - lay on your back and keeping your shoulders on the ground, slowly thrust your hips toward the ceiling, hold for 10-15 seconds, and then lower yourself, repeat.

                http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercise...tt-lift-bridge

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                • #9
                  If squats and lunges aren't activating your hams and glutes, you're doing them wrong lol! Add weight, go slow, try planche (sp?) lunges- straight back leg, and stepping out an angle instead of directly forward, and make sure you're sitting back on your squats, not tipping forward.

                  And women naturally have much stronger quads apparently than hams/glutes.
                  Stats: 5'6" female, 21 years young
                  Starting Weight: 187 lbs (March 2010)
                  Current Weight: 143 lbs (Oct 2011)
                  Goal BF: 20%

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                  • #10
                    Another recommendation to make sure your weight is on your heels, not the balls of your feet or your toes. That heel should never come off the ground. Oh, and make sure there is no lift in the heels of your shoes.

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                    • #11
                      Here is a video on the PROPER lunge technique.
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ95qwNaD78

                      Grizz

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                      • #12
                        Go deeper.

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                        • #13
                          I'd echo everyone else... has to be a form issue. I taped myself doing squats (with weight) and realized I wasn't going far enough, or sticking my butt out enough.

                          Safe to say once I corrected my form, it wasn't so much my quads, but my hammies, glutes and groins that prevented me from walking correctly the next day

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                          • #14
                            I totally agree with everyone! My glutes are still on fire from the lunges I did on Friday! :P The leg that is getting the most work, should be the front one - you'll work your back leg, too, but more hip-flexors, quads and some calf. Put most of your weight on the heel of the front leg, use the rear leg for balance more. Aim to get your back knee near to the ground and push up from the heel to come up. Believe me - you'll feel it, if you do it right! :P Try them with weights if you still cannot feel them. Hold two weights on either side and use them to help get you lower. A friend of mine who just started doing lunges, says they are easier with weights.
                            Last edited by Andtckrtoo; 11-24-2010, 08:26 AM.
                            Christine
                            Wag more, bark less

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Suse View Post
                              oooh this is exciting news. I have no butt whatsoever.... mind you I also have really skinny legs. I need to get my act together, if you say it has worked for you theholla, then i'm keen to know more. roadrunner, what do you mean by short bridges??
                              Hehehe...I've always carried weight in my legs, but my butt was just wide...and flat. Now it finally looks like a proper bum!
                              The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

                              You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

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